While many may perceive senior living communities as places where older people go to put their feet up and watch the world go by, Hebrew SeniorLife believes that seniors have far more potential to accomplish exciting things in their later years. The residents of Hebrew SeniorLife communities are people who are learning, growing and achieving full, healthy and vibrant lives. One major reason for this is Vitalize360 TM, an award-winning, innovative, centered wellness coaching and assessment system that originated at Orchard Cove in 2003.
Nursing students begin their careers with the understanding that caring for ill and frail people will include having a large population of seniors as their patients. And while caring for them in times of greatest need is vitally important, they often never have the opportunity to get to know patients as people and relate to their more specific medical needs associated with aging.
At a time when people 65 and older are one of the fastest-growing groups online and social media use among seniors is exploding, many older adults are embracing technology and incorporating it into their busy lives.
One prime example of the growing connection between seniors and technology occurs right here on the NewBridge on the Charles campus. When a resident of NewBridge on the Charles rises in the morning, there’s one place they can go to get their news, plan their daily activities, or make dining reservations, all from the comfort of home.
During his time as a chaplain at Hebrew SeniorLife and Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Rabbi Herman J. Blumberg was known for his wisdom, kindness, and overwhelming compassion.
Rabbi Blumberg’s “passion project” was to establish a hospice service at HSL. He strongly believed that seniors in the local Jewish community, in particular, deserved better end-of-life care and that HSL was the perfect organization to provide that care. Thanks in no small part to Rabbi Blumberg’s commitment, HSL Hospice Care launched in 2013. He served as Rabbinic Director from the program’s inception to his retirement in 2015.
In 2014 three million (9%) U.S. households with seniors age 65 and older experienced food insecurity; 1.2 million that live alone also experienced food insecurity, according to the non-profit organization Feeding America. Poverty and food insecurity has been increasing in Massachusetts affecting more seniors than ever before. An estimated 20 percent of Massachusetts residents who suffer from food insecurity are seniors. And of course food insecure seniors are at an increased risk for chronic health conditions.
I recently sat down with Bill Taube whose mother, Esther, blossomed as a patient at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Dedham (HRC Dedham). Bill’s mother moved to HRC Dedham three years earlier and was at the time, “Angry at the world and depressed.”
Before moving to HRC Dedham, she was so depressed that she would not even visit the hairdresser, a long held Saturday morning ritual. Bill was concerned that perhaps his mother would not adjust well to a move and grow only more despondent. Carol Westheimer, Esther’s geriatric care manager, pushed for the change and recommended HRC Dedham as a good match. “Carol was right,” says Bill.